Last weekend C. and I awoke bright and early to take the Eurostar to Amsterdam. We were planning for a weekend trip of fine dining, hotel bar-ing (a special thanks to the Hoxton Hotel for hosting us last weekend- as always, it was an awesome stay. You can use code “Khaleelah20” for 20% off your next stay at the Hoxton, too. To see my review of the Hoxton, which I still stand by, you can read it here) and ferrying down the canals, but on our way heard that we were going during Tulip Festival weekend. Since the weather was going to be glorious, we quickly modified our plans to spend most of our time out of the city, cycling around the Dutch countryside, taking in the the flower fields. We’re old and boring, I know, but the photos speak for themselves- it was gorgeous and well worth the sore behinds from the 20-mile bike trek. Scroll down for a few tips to survive Tulip Festival weekend in the Netherlands.
FIRST, before I start going on and on about our time in the fields, I need to mention our first night. We stopped by Guts and Glory, which does food based on themes. They do 3, 5 or 7 chapters (or, in non-GG parlance, courses) based on the theme du jour- themes are usually geographic or culinary, so Latin America, Japan, Vegetarian…you get the picture. We were there during their “best of” chapter, so we got to try a little of everything- well, mine was the vegetarian best of everything!
The menu is a surprise, so go with an open mind and you’ll be pleased with the outcome!
I enjoyed an amazing avocado gazpacho,
an AMAZING cabbage and black bean taco,
pistachio asparagus (SO GOOD),
delightful vegan ramen (will definitely be trying to make this at home!),
(mostly because it was hilarious to try and eat,)
and aubergine ice cream. I know, it sounds weird, and it was, but was surprisingly delightful with a little cocoa.
G&G is reasonably priced and the food is amazing! It looked really cute inside, too, but given the weather, we chose to sit outside.
Besides that culinary experience, we were off on bikes. As you may know, bikes aren’t my favorite mode of transport, but its the only way to see the flower fields. You can stop to get off at any point, unlike on a tour bus, and you can go to less frequented fields and areas than on the tourist track.
If you’re in Amsterdam (or around it) and want to see the flowers, I would NOT recommend taking a bus to Keukenhof or doing a tour group. I’d recommend getting a train to Haarlem from Amsterdam Central (about 20 minutes ride) and renting a bike from any of the shops in or around the station. Bike to Lisse (just pop it in your GPS) and all along the way you’ll pass amazing fields. You can stop in Lisse Central for lunch and then make your way back to Haarlem- you’ll never be too far out in the middle of nowhere, but you won’t be thronged by the tourist crowds that glut Keukenhof. And if you have major FOMO, you will pass Keukenhof so you can get out and go in AND see other fab fields as well. Just make sure to head out early, or you’ll hit traffic going to Keukenhof Gardens (not that it really matters since you can buzz right by!).